SwimWest History


SwimWest offers a proven approach to water safety. We have set the standard for swim education for baby swim lessons and toddler swim lessons to adults with a progressive curriculum that grows as they learn.

Our Core Values:   Safety, Service, Team, Always Learning, and Encouragement

  • We believe swimming is a necessary life skill and an important part of any water safety program
  • We provide high-quality swimming instruction by our friendly, energetic, and enthusiastic staff
  • We continually update and improve our teaching methods
  • We support Water Safety education in the community
  • We believe we have the best jobs in the world
  • We believe our program thrives on continual education from baby swim lessons to toddler swim lessons to adults

Our Mission Statement: The mission of SwimWest Swim School, Inc. is to teach families to love to swim and become safer, more comfortable, and responsible in the water.



Founder, Karen Kittelson Clay, launched a learn-to-swim school, SwimWest Swim School, Inc, in 1990. Her approach centers strongly around water safety and her love for children. Deeply affected by the drowning death of her father, her passion for water safety grew with a mission to be in a world without drowning.

SwimWest Swim School Founder

After graduating with a degree in exercise physiology and sports management from the University of Minnesota in 1989, Karen decided to challenge herself into owning her own business. At that time, she was already teaching ‘learn to swim’ courses, so the choice to start a swim school seemed a natural fit.


SwimWest curriculum teaches developmentally-appropriate learn- to- swim and safety skills at every age and ability level. This creates more confident swimmers and parents, allowing families to enjoy the water together.

SwimWest knows learning happens best when a student is having fun. That’s why we seize the opportunity during swim classes to make learning playful and exciting. Before the student knows it, they’ve learned stroke fundamentals and how to be safer in and around the water all while having a great time.


Over the past 30 years, we have developed confident swimmers at all levels. Our continual goal is to create happy swimmers while raising the standard for safer swimming in our community. Everyday there is a new success story, a new smile, a frightened child that begins to understand the aquatic world. We work to build smiles, confidence and success. Our half-an-hour, once-a-week, swim lesson philosophy works! We have a proven approach backed by decades of success. Effectively trained staff who make learning fun. A love of swimming and teaching kids with our hearts. It all adds up to lasting results and investment in children and adults.

SwimWest also has Adult and Senior Water Exercise Classes, Lap and Recreational Swimming, and Homeschool PE Classes.